Comments from Sonics, former Sonics, and Storm players.
Talvin Skinner (1974-76):
“It’s disheartening, but not unexpected. Once the Board of Governors for the NBA approved the deal for the sale of the team and gave them permission to relocate, Seattle really didn’t have a leg to stand on. Now we’re not part of a legacy, we’re part of history. I think Steve Ballmer has the right idea for another team. If he can get a petition of people together it would make sense. But he can’t mess with Howard Schultz. He has to get some people that actually know basketball and people with some influence, like Fred Brown.”
Spencer Haywood (1970-75):
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“I was looking for some Miles Davis music on the Internet and wanted to see what was going on in the sports world in Seattle and happened to see it. I’m overwhelmed. I have a lump in my throat with the idea of it. I thought there was a fighting chance, but also felt in my heart that it wouldn’t happen because of the owners’ vote. There’s a lot of fond memories. I can’t believe all that money in Seattle and we end up like this. Man, that’s deep. I grew up there. But what do you say when the Mayor and everybody else is taking the money and moving on? I’m just a guy who enjoyed my time in Seattle as a player.”
Xavier McDaniel (1985-1991):
“I hope the fans are pissed off because I’m pissed off. This isn’t right. Like I said when I was up there [for the courthouse rally], who always seems to lose? The fans always seem to lose. I’ve played in Seattle, Phoenix, Boston, New York, and New Jersey, and Seattle fans have always been the best. I’m thinking about the fans. The people who rely on the Sonics when the days are cloudy or whatever problem you’ve got with your spouse and the Sonics are playing, you can forget about that for that moment. I’m talking about the fans that show up regardless of what the situation is — I feel bad for those fans. Without those fans, the players are nothing. They buy our jerseys, they buy our shoes, they buy the tickets to see us play. When I came up there, I didn’t come for Clay Bennett. I came because of the Seattle SuperSonics fans. They put a lot of money in my pocket and a lot of players pockets and this is a sad day for them.”
Dwane Casey (Sonics associate head coach, 1994-2005):
“It’s a sad day in the history of the SuperSonics. I think the city will get another team and the positive is that the city has the opportunity to create its own course. They have the opportunity with Steve Ballmer and Matt Griffin. It may take a while, but if the league makes a team available, they know it will be a valuable part of Seattle. It’s sad, though, I thought they would get a couple of years to figure something out — not abruptly up and go. If only the city council and politicians buckled up and fought earlier. It was too late, but it’s spilled milk and you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.”
Damien Wilkins, current player:
“I’m really, really mad. I’m disappointed for the city of Seattle. I’m disappointed for the fans and the people that supported us for the last 41 years.”
Kevin Durant, current player:
“I’m a little shocked and a little disappointed. First of all, I didn’t know we would be leaving Seattle this soon. I feel for the fans in Seattle. Even though it wasn’t a great year for our team, they always supported us. I feel for the fans. Me and my family made Seattle our new home, and it’s going to be tough getting up and moving.
“When I heard it, I didn’t know what to believe. We’ve got to move on, continue to be professional and play basketball.”
Kevin Calabro, longtime announcer:
“I think about the guys who were on the championship team. I think about the 40th anniversary we had two years ago and all the greats we had here. I think about the passing of D.J. [Dennis Johnson]. I think about Bob Blackburn. I think about the founders of this team, like Dick Vertlieb [the Sonics' first general manager].
“Then I think about guys like Luke Ridnour and Nick Collison, two guys who really represent the best of the NBA. They’re all connected. All of them. In big ways and small ways. And for now, all we have are the memories to remind us this used to be a pretty good basketball town.”
Storm forward Lauren Jackson:
“When I thought we were leaving, I was devastated and I’m definitely devastated [last week, when the settlement was announced.] “It was sad to go into the Furtado Center, and I had a conversation and all I could say was, ‘I’m sorry, I feel so bad for you.’ “
Storm forward Kristen O’Neill, who is from Edmonds, grew up watching the Sonics on TV:
“It’ll be different not having them here. But it’s a great opportunity for the Storm. For people who love basketball, if they hadn’t checked out the Storm before, maybe now they will.”
Seattle Times staff